The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday that it has found potential clean-air and hazardous waste violations at Dow Chemical’s Midland, Michigan facility. The EPA has issued a “finding of violation” under the Clean Air Act and a “notice of violation” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The EPA alleges that Dow Chemical violated the Clean Air Act by “failing to follow regulations aimed at detecting and repairing leaks, as well as failing to conduct a required stack test” and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by violating provisions for managing hazardous waste. According the EPA, these violations may have:
“…increased public exposure to organic hazardous air pollutant emissions including, but not limited to, ethyl chloride, toluene, ethylene, perchloroethylene, methanol and hydrogen chloride. Hazardous air pollutants may cause serious health effects including birth defects and cancer and may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects. These pollutants are also volatile organic compounds and are major precursors of ground-level ozone (smog).”
The preliminary notice allows Dow Chemical a thirty-day window during which it can meet with the EPA to discuss resolving the allegations. The EPA can also choose to issue a compliance order, assess a fine, or file a lawsuit against the company. Thus far, Dow Chemical has downplayed the violations, suggesting that they are “paperwork” errors.